I was inspired after last week’s D&D session and felt the urge to write again. Finally! It had been too long since I wrote something creative. Please enjoy my interpretation of the dream sequence from last session:
Basile laid down in his bed and closed his eyes with a sigh. All he wanted was a good night’s sleep, but the lingering thoughts of his companions filtered through the walls and into his subconscious. His telepathy only seemed to be growing stronger, and while he appreciated it in the thick of battle, he despised it when all he wanted was rest.
He heard Rhaegar’s mind drift toward battle and could imagine the clanging of swords in his mind. Down the hall, he felt a lingering sensation of anxiety that he attributed to Alkaid. As for the others, they all seemed to merge together into white noise. Basile groaned and rolled onto his side, covering his head with a pillow and willing the voices to leave.
Just let me sleep…
Ciaran’s sudden scream jolted him out of bed, only to realize that he was in a dimly lit room made of stone. Confused, he turned around to find Ciaran and instead came face to face with a reptilian monster. With a started gasp, he backed up and bumped into Ciaran, who grabbed his arm in response. They were surrounded by five strange creatures they had never seen before, and all of them were slowly drawing closer.
Before he could think twice, Basile struck out his hand and released an eldritch blast into the monster before him. It recoiled and hissed in response, its glistening green scales becoming charred and splintered from the hellfire. An almost inhuman wail escaped its maw as its human-like face deformed and cracked. Just before it shattered into pieces, Basile heard it whisper in his mind: “No one will ever believe we inspired Ash Crimson. We’ll never receive the same fame as our friends.”
Basile felt his blood run cold as the other monsters started shouting at him, their voices a cacophony of jealousy. They reminded him that his family never loved him, that his parents only loved their real sons, and that no one in Modelheim would ever look at him as anything other than a murderer. All lies that felt like the truth.
“What the hell are these things?” he whispered, his voice seeming to vibrate in his bones. The monsters laughed in response, sneering at his confusion. He curled into himself, almost overwhelmed at hearing his own thoughts flung at him like weapons.
“Shut up!” Ciaran shouted as he drew his bow and fired a few arrows at the monster beside him. “You don’t know anything about him!”
Basile looked over and saw a figure with blue skin that seemed to melt like it was made of ice. He felt his heart sink as he stared into the face of his past. Eythan Addler was weeping and reaching for him.
“Our family abandoned us…gave us to a dragon…”
The others joined in the chorus of depression, telling him that the other associates only cared about Ciaran; they never wanted to be his friend. Basile grit his teeth and flung his hand around toward his younger self.
“Tell me something I don’t already know!” he barked as he watched his past bubble and vaporize into the air. The weight seemed to lift off his chest, yet the air felt thick and humid. He felt Ciaran whimper beside him and looked behind to see another reptilian creature manifest from the shadows. This time, it took on Ciaran’s face.
“Everyone else has real families,” it said. “We have no one.”
Ciaran dropped his bow and covered his ears. “You’re wrong! I have Basile and the others!” Five magic missiles summoned in front of him and shot out at his imposter, impaling it and chipping away scales. Basile let a blast of eldritch hellfire fly over Ciaran’s head and into the manifestation of his brother’s jealousy.
Another monster with Ciaran’s face appeared – red and full of pain. “They planned to let us die! Basile never wanted you!”
“Don’t listen to them, Ciaran!” Basile said firmly, trying to overcome his own demons. “They’re lying to you.”
“We only tell the truth,” a blue mirror of Ciaran stated as it reached for the boy, tears streaming down his face. “He’s the one who has been lying to us our whole life.”
Basile made a claw out of his eldritch fire and slashed open the creature, feeling water splash onto his hands. It clung to him like ooze. He spun and watched as Asgore, the fragile merchant he always pretended to be when in public, slid closer to him.
“What if we’ve been evil all along? What if we’re destined to follow in Lucifer’s footsteps?” he asked fearfully. A fiery devil engulfed in flames stumbled forward, flanking his other side. The creature was gasping for air, choking on its own smoke. Though his face was no different from Eythan’s, the haunted look in his eyes said everything.
“We never asked for any of this!” Ambrosio shouted, his voice pained and raspy. “We just wanted to live our lives like normal! Why were we forced to hurt people?”
Basile pulled Ciaran closer to him, trying to shelter him from the onslaught while trying to also find comfort in his one reason for living.
“This can’t be real! This has to be a dream,” he told himself as he felt a dark presence approach from behind him. The smoky figure billowed around the both of them, trapping them in their small space. As it crawled up Basile’s skin and formed before him, its face slowly took shape, and he realized that it didn’t represent his past at all. Rather, it looked exactly as he did now – his black horns and burned skin overtaking any human trait he still had left. This was the monster inside that he feared the most.
“You don’t deserve to live,” his reflection said in a cold and dissociated voice. The smog choked him as it forced its way into Basile’s throat. “You should just kill yourself.”
“Enough!” Basile screamed, squeezing his eyes shut as he released a ring of hellfire around him and Ciaran. He heard the cries of their souls dying; his fear shrinking away into dust, his anger exploding before snuffing out, and his self-hatred dissipating into the air.
He trembled and coughed, sweat covering his body as he held onto Ciaran. The boy clung to him, pressing his face against Basile’s chest in an attempt to hide. Basile looked up and saw that everything had cleared. Light was filtering into the room. He felt like he could breathe.
“Are you okay, Ciaran?” He asked, his voice hoarse. Ciaran nodded and pulled away, rubbing his eyes. Basile could hear Ciaran’s worried thoughts, and realized that he now understood just how much darkness lived inside of Basile.The tiefling knelt down and hugged his brother close. “I’m sorry you had to hear that.”
“Do you really feel that way?” Ciaran dared to ask, his voice barely a whisper.
They heard a click and flinched, turning around to see a door forming in the wall. They could see a crack of light shining just underneath.
“We should go before they come back,” Basile said breathlessly as he pulled Ciaran to his feet. Ciaran didn’t hesitate and jogged alongside him, both of them pushing open the door and walking into a bright light that blinded them.
When their vision returned, they found themselves standing in the middle of an office. The rugs beneath their feet were plush as if they were walking on clouds, and gentle music was playing in the room from an unidentifiable source. They looked up and saw floating candles flickering with warm light, and a large mural painted on the ceiling. Stained glass windows filtered in colored light and showed images of eyes.
Someone called out their names, and they turned to see Alkaid at the other side of the room, with the other associates not too far away. Ciaran ran over and hugged them as Basile stood by himself, taking in the scenery. All of his thoughts were clear. He couldn’t hear the others. He could barely hear himself.
He had never felt such peace in his life before.
Something compelled him to turn around and face the front of the office. At the head of the office was a dark oak desk, and behind it a massive wall of books. Each tome was plain with no writing on the spines, but he knew that their pages were filled with knowledge.
Sitting at the desk was a woman, a book open in her palm. She looked up at them as if she had been interrupted, yet at the same time expecting them. Her long blonde hair was pulled back into a braid, tucking just behind her ear. Her eyes were warn despite their deep blue color, and her skin was nearly translucent. She was adorned in long purple robes with silver and gold trim, and a symbol of an eye sewn into the breast. Basile furrowed his brow in confusion. He had never met her before, yet he seemed to know her deep down inside of him. As the group turned to face her, she smiled kindly and held out a plate of baklava as a greeting.
Then he remembered.
Oh my god…
“Wait…do I know you?” Rhaegar said as he took a few steps forward.
“I can’t believe it! It’s her!” Ciaran shouted excitedly, his voice rising an octave as he ran up beside Basile. He was practically shaking out of his boots.
“It’s who?” Alkaid asked in confusion, looking over at Marven and Neebs, who shrugged in response.
“Ioun?” Rhaegar asked as the hazy memories previous dreams came to mind.
The woman smiled and nodded.
Basile felt his knees go weak and he rested his hand on Ciaran’s shoulder. This can’t be real…there’s no way she’s actually here…
Yet somehow he felt that this was real, despite the letters on the spines of the books rearranging themselves. Wait, were there always words on the books? Despite his sense of panic, he still remained calm as Rhaegar continued to ask what they were doing there. She didn’t have to say a word for Basile to know why.
She had never abandoned him. She had just been waiting for him to allow her presence.
Her gaze scanned the room, landing on Basile for a moment. He felt like he was floating despite his feet being planted firmly on the ground. She then looked at Ciaran, who excitedly raised his hand as if being called on. She took one of the books off her shelf and held it out. Ciaran ran up to her and took it, bowing his head reverently. He brought it back to Basile before opening it.
A soft light emanated from the pages, and while Basile couldn’t read the text, he watched as the light passed through Ciaran’s eye and into his own hand. That light seemed to unlock something within him that he never knew was there. He could tell Ciaran felt the same as they suddenly understood the blessing their god had granted.
Understanding washed over him as he felt his connection to Ciaran strengthen. The very thing he had been seeking was linked to Ciaran, just as Pythos had said. He was immortal, at least for brief moments, as long as he was with Ciaran. He let out a soft breath and watched Ioun intently as she continued to give gifts to the rest of the associates one by one.
She listened to me. She answered my prayers.
Basile turned for a moment to compose himself, tears pricking his eyes as he was overcome with elation. While he couldn’t hear anyone else’s thoughts, he could feel their excitement as though he was being struck by lightning all over again. Instead this time, he wasn’t dying. He was thriving.
Then the room felt heavy, and he focused his attention on Ioun again. Her smile had faded, and Basile knew that her visit was not just to grant them power.
She needed to share an omen.
Ioun set another book down on the desk and opened it. An image of an icy landscape projected before them all, and Basile immediately recognized it as the outskirts of Modelheim. His people were being tormented by devils, whipped and tortured to dig at the ice. They all knew what lie beneath, and they knew they needed to stop Lucifer from rising.
“Are the other gods on our side?” Rhaegar asked. Ioun nodded. “Then we have no time to waste.”
Ioun seemed to agree, as she waved her hand and the room started dissolving around her. Basile snapped out of his stupor and took a step toward her.
Basile opened his eyes to a blank wall. He pulled the pillow off his head and sat up. He felt heavy again, weighed down by the thoughts of his friends and himself.
So it was a dream.
“Basile, you won’t believe it!” Ciaran said excitedly as he jumped off his bed and into Basile’s. “I had a dream about Ioun!”
Basile’s eyes widened. “You did, too?”
At that moment, Alkaid teleported into the room, her emotions and panic running wild as she grabbed Basile by the arm and told him that they needed to leave. Seems she, too, had the same dream.
As they hurried to meet with the other associates, Basile pulled the glove off his hand and saw that his mark of Asmodeous had changed. It now bore her mark, and he knew that everything that had happened was real. He slid the glove back on and quickly prepared for their trip to Modelheim.